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For those of us who work with ClickBank, this is an interesting and important read from the good folks at Affiliorama:

On September 23rd Clickbank will be rolling out a new design change which will potentially have a large impact on sales across their whole network, affecting both merchants and affiliates.

As one of Clickbank’s biggest clients, they’ve let us know in advance. So we’re letting you know.

...Because this is a big deal.

What is changing?

From what we understand, these are the changes:

Change #1: A compulsory, permanent “Clickbank” banner on sales pages

This is loaded automatically by Clickbank at the top of merchant “pitch pages” (sales pages), checkout pages, and after-purchase/download pages. The version we saw also had some buttons on the right, directing customers to the Clickbank marketplace (not the affiliate marketplace), and some customer support information. Here's what the banner looks like:

(The "support" box isn't there all the time: Only if the visitor clicks on the "customer support" button in the banner.)


Change #2: Pages will be forced to load inside a Clickbank frame

The URL of pages displaying the banner (pitch pages, checkout pages, download pages) will no longer be something like this:

... and instead it will be something like this:

So it will appear as though the visitor has left the merchant’s website, and is now on Clickbank’s website. (Which is technically what is happening. Clickbank is loading the merchant's website inside a frame.)

Who is this going to affect?

In short, everybody. And soon.

Initially it will be rolled out so that only traffic arriving through an affiliate link will see the banner and the iframe. (This will happen on the 23rd September.)

Two months after that (23rd November), it will be rolled out to all traffic, so that even visitors who originally arrived at a merchant site through the search engines will see the Clickbank banner.

At the moment it sounds like this banner will only affect pages that are part of the sales funnel: The sales page, checkout page, and download page. If the merchant has other articles and content on their site, it sounds like the banner won’t appear on those.

What impact will this have on my business?

It’s hard to know at this point. There’s a chance that it will have no impact whatsoever.

(Just like there’s a chance a hurricane might change course and drop down from a category 5 to “a light smattering of rain that might dampen your picnic”.) So our official advice is “Don’t panic.”

That said, we do have some serious concerns about the effect this will have on sales — both for merchants and for affiliates.

The issues are mostly due to the impact on user experience. To put it plainly, we think these changes might confuse customers, and prevent some of them from buying. Here’s why:

#1: It (appears to) take people away from the merchant website:

If your customer is paying attention to the address in their address bar, they will see it change from to

Unless you specifically prepare your customers for this, it can be a little bit jarring. We already invest a lot of effort into preparing customers to be taken to Clickbank for checkout. And this is after we’ve convinced them to buy.

Now we’ll need to pre-empt this anxiety before we’ve even built the relationship with the customer. There’s a chance we might lose customers who are looking for the “official” place to buy the product. And that’s because of this second point...

#2: The URL lacks any branding, and makes it look like a phishing site:

This is maybe only for our more paranoid sub-section of customers, but when you expect to visit and instead you’re redirected to this…

 … You could be forgiven for wondering if you've gone to the wrong place. Would you feel confident handing over your credit card if you’re not on the website you were expecting to visit?

#3: The banner is intrusive and confusing:

It’s likely that the banner might get some tweaks before it is rolled out, but right now, here’s what it currently looks like on a website that already has its own logo and navigation at the top of the page:


For our AffiloJetpack sales page it gets even better. Here's a three-logo hamburger in the upper left corner, and a double-support thickshake in the upper right.

This is really confusing.

What you can’t see in these images is that the banner is fixed to the top of the screen, and remains visible when the visitor scrolls down the page, even if the website’s own navigation does not.

We understand that the “marketplace” link that takes customers to Clickbank might not make the final cut, which is a relief.

#4: Plus technical concerns

Those are the big issues, but there are also a few technical concerns. The biggest being that this doesn't work on mobile devices.

(And we're not just talking about it not showing up, or requiring a little pinch to zoom. The version we tested made the page completely unusable on a mobile device. Hopefully Clickbank will fix this up before it's fully released, because this is unacceptable in 2015.)

We'll be interested to see how the banner behaves on sites that have their own fixed navigation (stuck to the top of the screen), and on sites that use "hello bars" and other tools to display banners at the top of the page.

It also remains to be seen how Clickbank will deal with merchants who block their page from being loaded in an iframe: A technical possibility. Clickbank will likely just make it a condition of service. 


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